Sunday, April 20, 2014
Updated: Saturday, March 06, 2004
Perspective on the BD U-19 Team: An Early Summary

Richard McInnes
I have not had time yet to put together a full review of the WC but here are a few preliminary thoughts.

My methodology of coaching is for players to be focused on processes, not outcomes. This is quite a simple concept, and basically means if we do all the small things well (processes) the bigger picture (outcomes) will take care of itself. The beauty of this method is that it makes the game simpler for the player.

To enlighten you further to our plans for the WC. Some of our process based goals were: Batting: 1 by and 2 by 50 run partnerships to be built on players playing to their "batting recipe" which is a combination of low, medium and high risk shots. Obviously they are supposed to play their low risk shots in the early stages of their innings and then medium risk. High risk shots should only be used when we are chasing runs in a hurry, as the return is then worth the risk. Each players has his own recipe that we have discussed and styled to suit his own strengths and weaknesses. This is fine in theory, where we are still having trouble is with the application and getting players to be disciplined enough to stick to their plan. This will take time, without meaning any disrespect to anyone, in general there is a lack of discipline across the sub continent as a whole, with traffic being the first thing that springs to mind. Changing a mindset that is in grained from an early age is very difficult. A second goal was to score off about 40 balls per 100. Regardless of the value of the shot, if you can limit the number of dot balls you face, you increase the pressure on the bowling team and inevitably bad balls are bowled, enabling boundaries to be hit. This is our second area of concern, although we have improved this, our batsmen are unused to facing sustained quality bowling. they can score off bad bowling, but if some one is bowling well, we struggle to score. This is evident in the test team and is one thing we have worked extensively on in training, but we still need to do more.

Bowling: Bowlers are encouraged to bowl 90% decision balls, meaning 9 out of 10 balls have to be on or just outside off stump, forcing the batsmen to make a decision whether to play or leave. It is also the area, where most wickets fall. our bowlers, in general do this as well any team I have seen at any level. Obviously at various stages of the game the length changes. All players had to develop at least two variations (change of pace) and to be able to bowl the three lengths required (yorker, bouncer & good length). Our other target, also involved the fielders were to bowl 66% dot balls. In one-day cricket and to a certain extent in multi day cricket if you can restrict a batsman from scoring, he will get himself out via a silly shot.

That is briefly what out match plans were, along with a few other small things.

In relation to the WC performances, well there are always going to be positives and negatives.

Obviously we did not make the Super League round. This was extremely disappointing, as we have all expressed several times. Whether we made the correct decisions regarding who to play and not play, whether to bat or bowl first etc is all very easy in hindsight and may or may not have changed the results anyway. India were and are a quality team, and we would have had to produce an outstanding performance to beat them, whether we batted or bowled first. The NZ was the killer for us (and we batted first). In one-day cricket, one player can almost win you a match, on that day Mackay from NZ had his day in the sun. I don't think he scored too many after that, but he did enough to win that game. We learned from that and i think the performance against the Aussies reflected that. it was a very similar situation, but we had been through it once before and had learnt from it. Full credit the players for their composure. Ashikur and Enamul were outstanding in their leadership. Twice, Ashikur called the players into a huddle on the field, when they were becoming flustered, and twice we secured a wicket not long after. We had spoken about doing this about 2 months ago, and Ashikur remembered this and did it. Well done.

We won all games we should have, something that has not happened before. We were clinical in our defeat of most of the weaker team. We stumbled against Canada and Uganda, but the rest were comprehensive. This is a good sign that players are not settling for mediocrity, but are becoming more professional and consistent in their approach to the game. In the entire campaign including the warm up matches, we played 13 games and won 11, so we are learning to win games.

I have attached some graphs that I use to track our performances. The lines are trend lines, with the actual dot points hidden to make it easier to read. Attached file: kpis.xls Attached file: kpi2.xls (more detailed)

Areas we need to improve (Negatives if you like):

Our batting still lacks consistency and discipline. This will come with playing more tough cricket.

Our pace bowlers need to swing the ball more and control it. While we have some excellent fielders, we have some very weak fielders as well, who need to work very hard on their speed, fitness and throwing speed to catch their team-mates.

Our ability to think under "pressure" is improving, but needs to keep improving.

Our "sport intelligence" or ability to choose the right options at the right times is really only gained through experience, and you can only train experience to a small extent, it has to be lived and learnt on the battle-field.

I could go on forever about thing we could improve on, but we need to focus on a few things and get them right, rather than trying to do everything at once. When I first arrived here, we ran some practice matches at BKSP and teams were getting bowled out in less than 20 overs; we could not build partnerships. Now a few months later we are having trouble finishing our overs, a new problem, but a better one to have.

I will keep working towards making our teams stronger; that is all I can do.